Saturday, March 24, 2007

'It was like a flying toilet roll': France opens up its UFO files

France has become the first country in the world to open to the public its official archives on unidentified flying objects.
Flying saucer fanatics now have access to some 400 files - about a quarter of the 1,600 cases of UFO sightings reported in France since the 1950s - which have been published on a website by the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES). The centre is confident that, between now and the end of the year, the remaining 1,200 cases will be made available to view online.
The first 400 documents are chiefly the declarations and testimonies of witnesses of UFO sightings,but photographs and videos will be introduced later this year.
The problem facing UFO researchers may be the vague and often bizarre descriptions used in many of the witness statements. The reported sighting of an object shaped "like a flying toilet roll", for example, gives little in the way of precise or scientific detail.
Jacques Patenet, head of the Research Group for the Study of Unidentified Space Phenomena, said: "Everything will appear online. But UFO experts will find no scoops or undiscovered cases on this database."
The archives can be searched by region, date, or key words. They can also be viewed in four categories, ranging from A (objects that were definitely not UFOs) to D ("unidentifiable").
The spokesman for CNES, Pierre Tréfouret emphasised that the centre does not wish to be involved in debates about the existence of extra-terrestrial life forms. "Our only role is to provide the general public and the scientific community with data," he said.
The archives are online at - but the server was yesterday overwhelmed by visitors.

No comments: